Nokia N93 - Initial Impression

I was painting today so I was pretty involved inside the house scraping, filling cracks and priming the walls in preparation for a much needed painting in one of our rooms. Of course, to keep myself motivated, I had music playing so I didn't hear anything other than some great tunes.

My wife was out shopping but when she got back she said I had a package waiting on the front porch. It was a brown box and I had no idea that anything was coming so curiosity got the best of me. I put down my paint brush, grabbed the box and opened it up.....well, that was the end of painting for today because it was the Nokia N93 that was sent to me to look at, use, give it a work out and if it's good (or bad) write a few things about it.

I have to tell you that this is a very slick looking device. Opening the box and seeing this device raised my heart rate up several notches. For those of you that read my review on the Nokia N-90, you know how much I liked that device. It was slick...very slick and fast became a device of choice when I was traveling because of its great form factor and terrific camera. If you have not had the opportunity to read that review, The Nokia N-90 Experience, then click on the link and you can read my review and see why I thought it was such an extraordinary device.

I have been closely following Nokia's development of the N series over the past several months and have been impressed with the devices they have introduced but none have been as exciting for me as the N90...that is until today. As I held the N93 in my hand for the first time, it was an immediate love affair! Why? For a variety of reasons which I will attempt to explain.

Initial appearance

I was thrilled that the device I got was black in color. It immediately gives a flavor of being rich, classy, first rate and the feel as I held it was absolute comfort. The Nokia design team has an absolute knack in designing killer devices and this is at the top of the list.

The front of the device sports a Nokia label, a small window for seeing the status and a rather large speaker. I can't wait to hear the sound it produces. At the top we find the main camera unit that just happens to be a 3.2 megapixel (2048X1536) camera. Did you read that? A 3.2 megapixel camera! WOW! And on top of that it is a Carl Zeiss optics system with a 3X optical cool is that!

As I rotated it in my hand I started to look at the lens but missed it at first glance...why? Because this model has a very slick miniature lens cap ... nice design folks, a very nice design. That was a concern I always had with the N90 so now that concern is gone. Below the camera lens is an LED flash, a mini-SD memory slot, a Pop-Port connector (more on that later) and the charger connector.

The back of the device just has the removable cover which I found a bit difficult to remove. After you see how it works, it is a snap...literally.

On the other edge we find the capture button for pictures and video and a very slick rotating zoom button. Below the capture key we find a five way toggle(scroll) button, a camera/video mode button and a flash button to turn on/off the flash. The first thing I noticed was that everything was easily accessible with one hand so your other hand can be used to steady the device if you have a particularly nice shot you want to take with no shake.

Flip Open

The outer cover flips open like every other flip phone but there is a "twist" to this device. Yes sir, the flip has a twist enabling you to adjust how you want to view the screen. Clearly, the twist effect is going to be used while taking pictures or video ... or is it? In a minute you will know that answer.

When you flip the device open, the home screen appears giving you an immediate view of the date, time, cell signal and battery strength as well as icons you can easily navigate to to see contacts, text messages,calendar, music player, gallery and the web. At the bottom of the screen you have messaging and gallery which are accessed by selection keys. All of these selections can be easily changed to suit your needs. After powering the device on, it was the first item of business for me because I like the items that I use most frequently on the screen.

One huge difference I noticed immediately was the size of the screen (Active matrix 2.4" QVGA color display with wide 160 ° viewing angle: 320 x 240 pixels, up to 262,144 colors) compared to the N90 . As much as I have used the N90 and have gained comfort with the device, after using the N93 for a few hours, the N90's screen looks tiny. I can tell you that the screen size difference is a welcome change!

With the N93 flipped open, you see a secondary camera at the top of the screen with a light sensor on the opposite side. It is so tiny it is hard to believe that it is a camera but it is and it works very well. Certainly the images from the secondary camera don't come close to the clarity and crispness of the main camera but it is surprisingly good. On either side of the secondary camera and light sensor you find two selection keys that are used when in landscape mode.

The main body of the device has a well designed keyboard layout with a large, comfortable keypad. The touch is excellent giving you confidence as you press each key. Above the keypad are four specific keys for editing, menu, multimedia (which brings up a cool screen) and a clear key. Lastly, above these four keys you get a 5-way scroll key surrounded by 4 buttons (two on either side) that give you selection keys for commands, a call key and an end key.

So what did I mean when I said: the twist effect is going to be used while taking pictures or video ... or is it?

Enter the View Mode

When the flip portion of the phone is closed you have two options for opening. The first is the standard flip up like we are all used to but the twist here is that we can flip sideways too. By lifting up on the side, we now get a device that allows us to view pictures or videos with the phone resting on the table or you can make hands free calls and send live video if you have a service that allows video calls (unfortunately, I don't have that option). I used it to view a few a few web was good, very good! Watching a video was excellent and viewing images taken with the camera is absolutely outstanding. Can you tell that I am impressed? ...very impressed!

The options for viewing either in portrait or landscape make for a better experience with the N93. It is a terrific design that brought immediate comfort as I used it for the first time today. That is clearly a distinct credit to the Nokia design team.

So what did I do with the device on my first day with it? Of course the first item of business was to insert my SIM and see how well the phone works and of course, Cingular is always horrible here but a quick drive up the street brought me from NO bars to FULL coverage (I'll never understand that). So there I sat on the side of the road making a few calls with outstanding clarity on my end and from the reports from those I chatted with, excellent sound on the other end....that was great.

Next I clicked on the globe for the Internet and entered a favorite of mine, Mobilitysite. BAM...I was viewing everything that had been posted for the day...slick. What was very slick was the Nokia Web Browser with Mini map allowing for easy movement on a web page. After several visits to a few sites, I took a few pictures and a short video and displayed them on the view mode of course! I was very pleased with quality of both.

Phone and Internet...what else is there? Life is is good and about to get better because when I got home, I inserted the headphones and listened to the Visual Radio enjoying a favorite FM radio station. I switched from the headphones to the loudspeaker and was pleased with the sound. Later I will add some of my music files to the mini-SD and will compare the difference in sound.

Quality ... just what you would expect from Nokia ... OUTSTANDING!

There are some interesting features with this device, one being TV OUT. There is a cable that connects to the device and your TV for display of video and images....I'm looking forward to trying that.

Pretty much the applications that are included appear to be the same that I have been used to but I will take time over the next several weeks to test each feature and evaluate its usefulness for my needs. I have not looked at what is on the CD yet...but I will. Hopefully there will be something that will be very cool. As a device for making calls, accessing email, surfing and taking pictures and video there is no question in my mind that this is an incredible device and one that other device makers can learn from.

One last item that tells you a little bit about Nokia quality and how they view their devices. I have been extremely careful all day as I set this device down. I just did not want to get any scratches on it but then I noticed that Nokia placed 4 little nubs on the back side to prevent the device from being scratched. A simple addition that protects your device....they were thinking!

Special Thanks to Andy Abramson from Comunicano for providing me with this new means of being able to Experience Mobility.

Check out the Nokia site here for more information on the Nokia N93

Here is a short video that was included on the device. I liked it because it just got the "juices flowing" in me for the Nokia N series. I hope you like it too!

View Nokia N Series video here

I am sure that many of you saw this video I put up on the Nokia N93 - IM3 Premier. It is a short clip but it can illustrate the power of this device when watching a movie. The IM3 movie will be included with the N93 on a mini-SD card...and no, I did not get the movie (but I wish I did).

View N-93 IM3 video here

Yeah, Nokia hardware cries for quality and really show Nokia takes into account what people REALLY want (multimedia capabilities, TV out, quality camera etc). Much better than HTC's most Windows Mobile devices, I'd say.

If only it ran Windows Mobile and not Symbian... :)

I agree Werner, If only it ran Windows Mobile and not Symbian it would be perfect!

It would seem to me that Nokia and Microsoft should do what Palm did...offer both, keep everyone happy and for Nokia...grab even a BIGGER share of the market.

Yup, I don't understand why Nokia is pushing Symbian so far. A lot of us WM users would be more than willing to pay for Nokia's hardware if it ran Windows Mobile.

Nokia's hardware is certainly superior to the HTC cr@p when non-business users are concerned. And, it's Finnish quality :)

so far = so hard, sorry for the misunderstanding

Nokia = "Finnished" quality
HTC = "unfinished" quality

Just a joke. ;-)


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